NASA expert on what you need to know before eclipse

Oct 13, 2023, 8:20 PM | Updated: 11:16 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The annular solar eclipse is set to cross over the state on Saturday morning.

“Tomorrow we will be seeing what we call an annular eclipse,” Anita Dey, Outreach & Engagement Partnerships Manager for NASA Science Mission Directorate said.

Eclipse chasers will be packing the roads this weekend to get a rare peek at the sight of the sun in Utah.

“The moon will cover the sun but not completely, so the sun will be peeking out, and that’s where the ring of fire comes from,” Dey said.

Thousands of Utahns will have the chance to see the eclipse and thousands more are expected to travel to the state on Oct. 14. Locations available to the public include multiple Utah State Parks.

But there’s one crucial piece of equipment you’ll need if you want to get a glimpse of the eclipse, safely.

To safely view the sun, you need either solar viewing glasses or an indirect viewing method.

Dey said, “We never look at the sun directly because it is too bright for our eyes; it would cause permanent damage. And with the eclipse, it’s no different – don’t look at it directly.”

Make sure any glasses used are made in the USA and have an ISO rating on them.

That ISO seal means they have been tested under an international standardized certification.

Eclipse glasses are essential for Saturday’s annular eclipse

That certification means the glasses are safe for direct viewing of the sun when properly used and when you follow instructions.

Those instructions should also be printed on the eclipse glasses.

The glasses can be found at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s and 7-Eleven.

If you don’t have eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can use an indirect viewing method. One way is to use a pinhole projector, which has a small opening (for example, a hole punched in an index card) and projects an image of the sun onto a nearby surface.

Dey said not only is this a fun moment for viewers, but provides solid science.

“This is important from a scientific point of view because it teaches us more about our sun, more about what the sun does to our atmosphere, and what the lack of solar energy does for our atmosphere,” she said.

Dey said if you can safely view Saturday’s sighting, it will be well worth it – the next total eclipse after April won’t be until 20 years from now.

“This is a moment where people can understand that observing and asking questions, that’s how you do science, and that’s something that is accessible to everybody,” Dey said.

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NASA expert on what you need to know before eclipse